Facilitative Learning - An Interview with Dr. Michael Gass

There is a 12 ounce glass and it has 6 ounces of water in it.

Is this glass half empty or half full?

Mike3 In this audio interview, Dr. Michael Gass of the University of New Hampshire offers his unique persective on this puzzle.  You'll hear how he uses this glass-of-water metaphor to share powerful distinctions between "PROBLEM-Focused Facilitation" and "SOLUTION-Focused Facilitation". 

In this interview we discuss the power of questions, being (and staying) curious and inquisitive, the "confusion technique", approaching difficulties as gifts, and more.

Mike knows what he's talking about:

  • Mike is the author of several books on facilitation and experiential leanring. 
  • Mike is the recipient of the Association of Experiential Education (AEE) Kurt Hahn award for leadership and is the recipient of AEE's Outstanding Experiential Teacher of the Year award. 
  • Mike has presented over 150 professional workshops on adventure and other forms of experiential programming in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America.

Icon_audio_22 Listen to the audio interview by clicking on the link below (mp3 file).

Download dr. Michael Gass sm.mp3

Understand the Master Collaborator - an interview with Michael Port

Michael_port How does a master collaborator view the world? 

This is the question I posed to Michael Port who recently published Book Yourself Sold - The Fastest, Easiest, and Most Reliable System for Getting More Clients Than You Can Handle Even if You Hate Marketing and Selling.

Using the collaboration skills he teaches in his book and seminars, Michael launched Book Yourself Solid at amazon.com and two hours later the book went to # 1 on all major business categories and climbed to the # 2 spot overall at amazon.com.

In this audio interview Michael will share key principals on how you can become a master collaborator. 

Book_yourself_solid Whether you're an entrepreneur or an employee of a large or small company, your success will skyrocket when you collaborate more effectively.

This recording is useful for anyone who wants to think big and play a bigger game.

Download michael_port_sm.mp3

During the interview you'll hear Michael mention the Think Big Revolution.  This is a project worth your time.


Crucial Confrontations - An Interview with Ron McMillan

Ron_mcmillan_3 How do you resolve broken promises, violated expecations and bad behavior AND do it in a way that will actually strengthen the relationship?

This is the question Ron McMillan answers in his 2005 book Crucial Confrontations which became a NY Times Best Seller.

One of my favorite writers on teams and organizational development is Tom Peters and he says "If you read only one management book this decade I'd insist that it be Crucial Confrontations.

Today I interviewed Ron and we start off by clarifying what a "crucial confrontation" is and is not.  He outlines the 3 criteria that make a confrontation crucial:

  1. High stakes
  2. Opposing opinions
  3. Strong emotions

Crucial_confrontations We then discussed the 4 primary mistakes people make when confronting others and then Ron provides solutions for each.

Icon_audio_20 Click the link below to listen to the 50 minute audio interview in mp3 format:

Download ron_mcmillan_sm.mp3

Learn more about Ron McMillan and his great work here.

Ensure Success in the First 100 Days of the Woman Exec

Liz_cornish My friend Liz Cornish has written a wonderful book for new women execs and she is offering a special deal for members of the TeachMeTeamwork.com community that allows you to purchase the book and companion workbook for 38% off list.

About the book…

It’s called JumpStart: A Woman Exec’s Guide to Maximizing Success in the First 100 Days on the Job. If you are being promoted or transferred, taking over a new team or launching a new project, this book is for you.

  • provides a blueprint for success in your first 100 days;
  • shares the advice and wisdom of scores of successful female executives;
  • shows you where the landmines are buried in any workplace;
  • describes how to overcome challenges and disadvantages common to women leaders in their first 100 days;
  • develops strategies for exploiting your strengths and managing your limitations.

Jumpstart_cover McGraw Hill has picked up the book and will be publishing this book soon and the price will go up significantly.

Buy the book and the companion workbook for 38% off list at this special link.

Icon_audio_19 Listen to the audio interview I did with Liz about her book.  Click on the link below:

Download liz_cornish_sm.mp3

Dr. Dan Garvey -- President of Prescott College Interviewed

  • Why do we "do" experiential education at all?
  • What is the ultimate goal of teaching through experiential education?
  • Whats the difference between a "seasoned" experiential educator and an inexperienced/new facilitator"?

Dangarvey If ever there was someone qualified to answer these questions it is Dr. Dan Garvey who is the president of prestigious Prescott College.  Dan is the former president and executive director of the Association for Experiential Education (AEE) and is the recipient of the 1997 Kurt Hahn Award. He has authored more than 25 books and articles dealing with the broad topic of experiential education.

I had the opportunity to interview Dr. Garvey recently and we discussed these topics and more including:

  • Education follows culture
  • The unique demands of an experiential educator
  • Personal development and the path to becoming a top facilitator
  • Trust

Icon_audio_16 Click on the link below to listen to the interview
Download dr. Dan Garvey sm.mp3

Cdaudio1 Do you like to learn by listening?  I've developed three CDs for you - - each one is filled with audio interviews  designed to help you become more effective at teaching team and leadership skills.  Learn more here.

Conscious Leadership - An Interview with Dr. Lance Secretan

Lancesecretan Dr. Lance Secretan is the author of the new book entitled ONE: The Art and Practice of Conscious Leadership.

In this recent audio interview I did with Dr. Secretan he reveals how how the conscious leader practices the CASTLE Principles

CASTLE is an acronym for six attributes: 

  1. Courage
  2. Authenticity
  3. Service
  4. Truthfulness
  5. Love
  6. Effectiveness

One Like all fundamental, life-changing concepts, these are simple ideas - well known to us all, yet easier to talk about than to live.  In this interview Dr. Secretan shares how to LIVE these principles.

I love this book because it gives leaders a clear and practical approach to leading consciously and thus, building teams consciously.  And this is a guy who knows what he's talking about.  Dr. Secretan is a former CEO of a global corporation, former business school professor, best selling author of 13 books, and consultant to large organizations world wide. 

Icon_audio_15 Click on the link below to download the interview
Download lance_secretan_mp3sm.mp3

View a detailed descriptioin of the CASTLE Principles

Jack Canfield interviewed

Imagine for a moment that you love basketball and you're a huge fan of Michael Jordan who is arguable the greatest basketball player of all time.  And you ask Michael Jordan if you can hang out, shoot some hoops, and maybe play a little one-on-one.  Would that be amazing or what?!

Jackcanfield_1Well, I had a similar experience of visiting with someone who is Michael Jordan's equivalent in the field of personal development - - I recently visited with Jack Canfield who is a world renowned expert at warming hearts and changing lives.  Jack is, according to the Guinness World Book of Records, the best selling author of all time along with his coauthor Mark Victor Hansen - - together they created the Chicken Soup For The Soul book series.

I interviewed Jack about his recently published book entitled The Success Principles - - How To Get From Where You Are To Where You Want To Be.  It's a big book (470+ pages) - I own it in hardcover form and in audio form (download it now at audible.com) and I listen to it frequently.

In this interview I focused my questions on one section of the book entitled "Build Your Success Team".  Jack shared valuable insights including staying focused on your core genius, saying no to the good so that you can say yes to the great, and mastermind principles.

SuccessprinciplesAfter the call Jack and I visited offline for 15 minutes.  I told told him he was very good at being interviewed (easy to interview).  I guess that comes from being on so many radio programs (600+) and on TV so many times. 

And then Jack gave me some feedback...

He said "Tom, you're really good at this!  You're calm and relaxed and have a natural style.  You go with the flow and you keep bringing things back to focus.  You're obviously living these principles and it comes through in the back and forth."


I've got to tell you that after a compliment like that I felt like doing a few back flips.  To receive such a kind compliment from one of my biggest heroes was a huge gift. 

This audio interview with Jack Canfield is 43 minutes long.  Click on the link below to listen to the complete audio interview:

Download jack_canfield_mp3_sm.mp3

Learn vs. Apply

Learning about (knowing) the Success Principles is not the same as applying them.  When you become a member of the International Association of Teamwork Facilitators you join a community of like-minded professionals who are working to learn AND apply these life changing lessons Jack writes about.  CLICK HERE to learn about all the IATF member benefits.  


Download two chapters from the Success Princples and listen to a "virtual book tour" led by Jack Canfield HERE

Book Study Group: "Attractor Factor"

Attractorfactor_2In November I posted an audio interview with Dr. Joe Vitale in which we discussed his best selling book The Attractor Factor - 5 Easy Steps for Creating Wealthy (or Anything Else) From the Inside Out.

Starting Tuesday January 24 and running four weeks (4 Tuesdays), I will host an author approved book discussion group where we will explore the book and the Law of Attraction outlined in the book. We will be "meeting" on a telephone conference line (aka a "bridge line") from 10--10:55 PM Eastern (New York time zone).

This is a great opportunity to be in the company of others who are learning and applying the information from the book.  Come share your stories of success and realize new insights provided by the group.  It will be magical.

There is no charge to attend other than the fees your phone company charges you for long distance calls.  You should also have a copy of the book - - you can buy the book at this link.  Please read up to page 55 for the first call.

To register for the call, send me an email.  Space is limited.

Patrick Lencioni asks "Is Your Team Dysfunctional?"

Five_dysfunctions The Five Dysfunctions of a Team is a best selling book that explores the fundamental causes of organizational politics and team failure.

I bought the book in the unabridged audio format through audible.com.  The book is written in a fable (story) format and is so compelling that I found myself sitting in the car listening to the book in the driveway after I had returned home from a short trip.

If you work with teams you need to read this book.

I contacted the author Patrick Lencioni and here's the results of a little Q&A:

Patrick_lencioni Q: What is this book about?
A: Essentially, it’s about the root causes of politics and dysfunction on the teams where we work, and the keys to overcoming them.  It’s also a testament to the power of teamwork, and the competitive advantage that it can bring to any organization.  Finally, the book is a reminder that success in business may be difficult, but it’s not overly complicated.  It is more about discipline and persistence than intellectual prowess.

Q: Why are so many teams dysfunctional? 
A: Because they are made up of human beings with varied interests and frailties.  When you put them together and leave them to their own devices, even the most well-intentioned people will usually deviate toward dysfunctional, unproductive behavior.  And because most leaders and managers are not schooled in the art of building teams, small problems are left untreated and spiral further and further into ugliness and politics.

Q: What is the worst behavior you’ve ever seen on a dysfunctional team?
A: Choosing just one is difficult.  But if I had to select one, I would say it was a company where the CEO was unable to confront his direct reports about basic behaviors such as their blatant refusal to attend staff meetings and honor reporting structures.  Ultimately, this led to the stifling of conflict around key issues, resulting in massive financial losses and scandal. 

Q: What advice do you have for someone struggling with a dysfunctional team?
A: If you’re the leader of a team, go back and start by ensuring team members trust one another and are comfortable engaging in open conflict around issues.  There is no substitute for trust—it begins with the willingness of team members to open themselves up to one another and admit their weaknesses and mistakes.

In addition, any individual, whether an executive or a line employee, can impact a team in either a positive or negative way. Without holding one another accountable, even the best-intentioned team members can create dysfunctions within a team.

If you’re not the leader of the team, find a way to get your leader committed to addressing the five dysfunctions.  Or be prepared to take risks calling people on unproductive behaviors.  If neither of these options are possibilities, think about finding another team.

Q: Can you apply this model to any current events?
A: Yes.  Enron, President Bush and his Cabinet, The New England Patriots, and of course, the break-up of the Go-gos.

Q: What exactly are the five dysfunctions of a team?
A: Lack of trust.  Team members are uncomfortable being vulnerable with one another, unwilling to admit their weaknesses, mistakes or needs for help.
Fear of conflict.  Team members are unwilling to engage in passionate, unfiltered debate around important issues.
Inability to commit.  Team members fail to achieve buy-in around clear decisions and courses of action.
Unwillingness to hold one another accountable.  Team members fail to confront one another around behaviors and deliverables that do not conform to agreed decisions.
Inattention to results.  Team members put their individual needs for career development and recognition before the collective goals of the team.

Q: Why do you convey your messages through fables?
A: I believe that readers learn more through fables because they can relate to the characters and more easily internalize the messages.  In addition, they are more apt to finish a book if they find it intriguing and fun to read.  Finally, because I’ve had some experience writing screenplays, I enjoy the process of bringing my theories to life through interesting dialogue and character development.

Download the Five Dysfunctions Model below

Download five_dysfunctions_model.pdf

Buy books by Patrick Lencioni HERE

Do you love this book (like I do) AND do you also love to teach using experiential exercises (like I do)?  If yes, I've got a great resource for you! 

On October 4, 2006 I led a live TeleSeminar where I shared 5 experiential teambuilding exercises that support the book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.  You can access the recording, the class notes, and detailed descriptions of the activities along with video clips right now by clicking HERE.

The Attractor Factor & Team and Leadership Development

Do you work hard, do everything right, and yet rarely achieve the results you had hoped for? 

You might be trying to build a better team or lead people in a more effective and conscious way.  You might be trying to become healthier or experience more fulfilling relationships.

So you go to a workshop or read a book or listen to a tape to learn more techniques and you think you're doing everything right and working hard but you never achieve the results you're after.

I've experienced this.  Working hard.  Doing everything I thought I was supposed to do.  And still not quit getting there.

What is the missing piece?

I found the answers I've been looking for in a new book by Dr. Joe Vitale entitled "The Attractor Factor - - 5 Easy Steps For Creating Wealth (or anything else) From the Inside Out".  This book has 75 five star reviews (the highest rating) at amazon.com and has been a number one best seller twice at amazon - both times beating out Harry Potter!  Click on the book image to read the reviews yourself.

Joe reveals that success of any kind doesn't depend on what you're doing, it depends on what you're being!  In his book Joe combines time-honored practices of spiritual self-discovery with proven marketing principles into an extraordinary how-to manual for happy living both in and out of business.

Joe_vitale_1 I interviewed Joe recently and we discussed the revolutionary five step process he shares for manifesting whatever you want as well as THE KEY belief you must adopt to create big shifts in your life.

Click on the link below to listen to the 30 minute interview with Joe Vitale.
Download joe_vitale_mp3_sm.mp3

As you'll hear in the interview, the implications of the secrets Joe is sharing are profound.  With this information you can improve every area of your life.

Join us each week to discuss the book.  More info here.

Recordings of the Attractor Factor virtual book study group below:

Download attractor_factor_feb_14_2006_mp3_sm.mp3

Download attractor_factor_22106_mp3sm.mp3

Download attractor_factor_feb_28_sm.mp3

Download attractor_factor_march_7_1.mp3

Download attractorfactor_march14_sm.mp3

Stephen M.R. Covey -- The Speed of Trust

Trust is soft.
Trust is slow.
Trust is for wimps.
Trusting people is too risky.
Trust can't be taught.

These are common myths about trust.

Covey_smrBut what is the truth about trust?  Find out in this audio interview with Stephen M.R. Covey who will soon publish a book entitled "The Speed of Trust".

Stephen MR  (pictured) is the eldest son of Dr. Stephen  R. Covey who authored "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People".  Stephen MR is the former CEO of Covey Leadership Center which, under his stewardship, became the largest leadership development company in the world.  He is now the co-founder and CEO of his own firm CoveyLink which is a learning and consulting practice focused on enabling leaders and organizations to increase and leverage trust to achieve superior performance. 

As a teacher of team and leadership skills, there is no doubt that you seek to build trust among team members.  But how best to do it?

Speed_of_trust_1In this interview Stephen MR Covey shares strategies, tactics and tools to help you establish, grow, extend, and restore  trust with all stakeholders (customers, suppliers, investors,  and co-workers). 

Click on the link below to listen to the interview.

Download stephen_mr_covey_mp3_sm.mp3

Trust is THE critical leadership competency in the new global economy. Trust is more important than vision, strategy, skills, systems and structure and... the list goes on.  Trust is what will make your team outstanding.

The Fourth Turning and Your Place In History

Have you ever stopped to wonder why you have a desire to teach team skills?  After reading the book "The Fourth Turning" by Neil Howe and William Strauss, I realized why I teach teams skills.  I now clearly understand my place in history as a teacher of team and leadership skills.

FourthturningbookThe Fourth Turning outlines a profound theory that suggests history moves in cycles (history is NOT a linear progression), much like the cycles of the seasons.  Each season lasts approximately 20-25 years with a full cycle of the seasons lasting 80-100 years. 

Moving through these seasons are (large) groups of people or generations - - a generation is composed of people whose common location in history lends them a collective persona. Recent generations are Baby Boomers (born 1943-60), Generation-X (born 1961-81), and Millennial Generation (born 1982-2005).  You might know the Millennial Generation as "Generation Y", but Millennials don't like the "Y" designation because they don't like being seen as an extension of the "X" generation (the generation Millennials have the least respect for).

Why is this important to those of us teaching team and leadership skills?  Read on...

Howe and Strauss say that we are at the end of fall and about to start the winter cycle of history (if we haven't already).  Winter is always a time of huge change.  To put this in perspective, take a look at the past three winters we experienced here in the USA:  The Great Depression & World War II, and the winter before that was the Civil War, and the winter before that was the Revolutionary War.

The generation that "comes of age" during the winter (the crisis) is referred to as the "hero" generation.  The "G.I. generation" is the last generation to fall into this hero archetype. 

What does this mean?

1. We (the US and likely the world community) are about to experience the winter season, a time of great challenge (a period of approximately 20 years).
2. The generation that will come of age during this crisis is the Millennial Generation - - our next Hero generation.  The lion's share of Millennials are in school - - elementary, middle, and high schools as well as colleges and universities.  The oldest of the Millennials are now 23 (just out of college)
3. One of the most important skills for any hero generation to master is that of teamwork. ALL hero generations must master team skills because the challenges they face will be so demanding (remember WWII?).
4. The book describes how individuals and society should prepare for the Fourth Turning.  As you might imagine, team skills are absolutely critical in a Fourth Turning - the challenges are so great that they can only be solved through a massive amount of teamwork.
5. Therefore, your desire to teach team skills (esp. to the Millennial Generation) is in PERFECT harmony with the cycles of history. 

Neilhowe_1Listen to my interivew with Neil Howe (co-author of The Fourth Turning).  I suspect you'll gain some real clarity about why you feel compelled to teach team skills. 
Download 01_neil_howe_mp3.mp3


A Whole New Mind -- Audio Interview With Dan Pink

Quiz Time:  Which college degree is more valuable?  An MBA or an MFA (that's Masters of Fine Arts).

DanpinkDan Pink says the answer is clearly an MFA - - at least it will BECOME more valuable over the next ten years.

Dan Pink is the author of A Whole New Mind -- Moving From The Information Age To The Conceptual Age. In this amazing book Dan describes why many of the "left brain" jobs are moving to India and Asia (outsourced) and why "right brain" jobs (jobs requiring creativity, non-linear thinking, etc.) are going to soon become more valuable here in the USA. 

This book may change the way you look at the world.  It did for me.

"One of those rare books that marks a turning point."
-- Seth Godin
"I was moved and disturbed and exhiliarated all at once."
-- Tom Peters

After reading the book I contacted Dan to setup an interview because I wanted to Awholenewmind_1get his take on how this coming shift will effect teams.  We had a great conversation and I recorded it for your listening pleasure.

Listen to the 34 minute audio interview - click the link below (mp3 file)
Download danpink_mp3_sm.mp3

NOTE:  When you become a member of the International Association of Teamwork Facilitators you receive access to the growing online archive of recorded training events (like this one with Dan Pink).  CLICK HERE to learn more about IATF member benefits.


Dan changed the title of his book to: "A Whole New Mind -- Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future"

Oprah LOVES this book and when she gave the commencement speech at Stanford to the 4,500 students in the graduating class, she gave each a copy of Dan's book.  CLICK HERE to view Dan interviewed by Oprah.  Dan says it's his favorite interview ever (I'm hoping the one we did is a close second).

Behind the curtain: Tom Heck interviewed by Anita Law

Today I was interviewed by Anita Law of PowerOfMyWay.com.  Anita is an author and coach who has put together a series of live audio interviews entitled "Five Who Thrive: Getting the Life And Business You Want"

Anita has been a subscriber to my e-newsletter (now e-updates) for a long time and has been following my online career.  She asked me to speak about how I made the shift from leading live in-person team and leadership development workshops to what I'm doing now at www.teachmeteamwork.com - - using technology to train thousands of people around the world AND having a great life in the process. 

I offer a "behind the curtain" look at my life and business. 

Download tomheck_mp3_sm.mp3

Influencing with Integrity -- an interview with Genie Laborde

Genie Laborde is fun and she happens to have a PhD, is a distinguished communications consultant to major corporations in the US and abroad and wrote a book entitled "Influencing With Integrity" which has sold over 200,000 copies and has been translated into five languages.   Genie has trained thousands of people from all over the world how to become more effective communicators and influencers.  She has even created an amazing web-based training program that teaches you how to become a master influencer (and you know how much I like web-based training!).

Today I had the great pleasure of interviewing Genie about how to influence people with integrity.  I thought this was an important topic because the most successful team leaders (and team facilitators) are masterful at influencing people.

But how do you influence without manipulating?  Listen to this interview and learn how. 
Download genie_laborde_mp3_sm.mp3

Check out Genie's blog HERE

Thanks to Coach Barbara Brady for introducing me to Genie Laborde.

SmartMatch Alliances -- Audio Interview with Judy Feld and Ernest Oriente

Today I had the great pleasure of interviewing two people who are truly "possibility thinkers".  There names are Judy Feld and Ernest Oriente and they are master business coaches. 

Judy and Ernest are experts in the area of alliance building and in this 30 minute interview, they share some key insights from their book "SmartMatch Alliances"

Learn what an alliance is, how to assess your alliance-ability, determine your current and target "PINS", where to look for high potential alliance partners and more. 

As someone involved in the world of teambuilding, you need to become a master alliance builder.  Judy and Ernest teach an approach that produces a win for all concerned (producing truly synergistic relationships). 

As you listen, note how many times Judy and Ernest mention "community".  Building alliances is all about supporting your community.

Click on the link below to listen to the interview:

Download judyfeldernestoriente_mp3_sm.mp3

A Teachable Moment -- an interview with Michelle Cummings

The teambuilding activity is over.  The group is circled up and looking at you.  It's time to debrief - - to help the group make sense of what just happened and apply lessons "back in the real world".  I call this "debriefing"while others might call it processing or reviewing or reflection.

When I started in the field of experiential learning, it was the debriefing that gave me the greatest challenge.  Learning how to lead the activities was a breeze compared to debriefing.  Whenever I observed a skilled leader work with a group in the debrief session I thought I was witnessing magic.

Michellecummings_1 This is where Michelle Cummings steps in (that's Michelle in the picture).  She's the coauthor of a great new book entitled "A Teachable Moment -- A Facilitator's Guide to Activities for Processing, Debriefing, Reviewing and Reflection". 

On April 7, 2005 I interviewed Michelle about her book.  She offers some great insight on how to become a more effective facilitator of teams, especially when it comes to debriefing the activity. 

Listen to the 30-minute interview here (mp3 file).
Download michelle_cummings_mp3_sm.mp3